Adolescents Obese Due to Stress

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Adolescents are overweight or obese due to stress, according to an Iowa State University study. The study states that “increased levels of stress in adolescents are associated with a greater likelihood of them being overweight or obese. The study focused on 1,011 kids between the ages of 10 and 15. 47% of these kids were overweight or obese, but the percentage grew to 56.2 when they had four or more stressors in their lives.

adolescents obese

Common Stressors for Teens

Today's teens feel the stress of everything from family problems and the economy to poor grades. It's hard not to be worried when dad loses his job or the family can't afford to send them to college. There are a number of other risk factors for childhood obesity as well.
  • The use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Lack of career goals
  • Depression
  • Financial problems
  • Not fitting in
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Hormonal changes
  • Divorce and other family changes
  • Natural disasters

How Families Effect Childhood Obesity

You might think kids are effected more by their peers and things going on at school. The truth is, however, that the family, and more importantly the mother, has a bigger effect on children. If there are problems at home, the kids feel that stress too. Divorce, fighting, neglect, job loss and financial woes contribute to teen stress and obesity. Reducing these stressors and getting kids help will reduce their likelihood of gaining weight. Create a positive home environment and talk to them about the things that are going on.

The pressure that adolescents feel is often overwhelming. Parents, teachers, coaches and peers pressure them to be the best. One ways teens deal with the pressure is by overeating. Teens turn to food as a comfort.

How to Help Reduce Teen Stress and Obesity

You can reduce teen stress and obesity with a little compassion and common sense. First, offer your ear. Be there to listen to their problems and help them think them through in a rational way. Next, observe their behavior. Tell them if you feel concerned about certain things you notice.

Then offer support. Be there for them when needed and get professional help if necessary. Last, but not least, be a good role model for your teen. Show them how to deal with stress in a healthy way. Eat smart, exercise, discuss your feelings and provide a stable, loving environment for them. Take the focus off of dieting and weight loss and make it more about healthy living.

How parents handle their own stress is equally important. Adolescents follow by example, so as much as you tell them how to do things, they are more likely to do as you do. Work on reducing your own stress level to help reduce stress and poor eating habits in the whole family.

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